I've spent 100 hours traveling by train. Here are 3 simple reasons why it's the best mode of transportation.

  • After spending 117 hours on the rails, I think trains are the best mode of transportation.

  • I find trains to be more comfortable and reliable than flights and cars.

  • Traveling by train is also one of the most sustainable ways to get around the world.

Traveling by train is my preferred method of transportation, from short trips to long-haul rides.

The author exits a Nightjet train in Venice.
The author exits a Nightjet train in Venice.Joey Hadden/Insider

I have taken a lot of flights and road trips throughout my life, but two years ago, I dabbled in the world of train travel and never looked back.

After more than 100 hours on trains in the US, Europe, and Canada, I've found that it's the most comfortable and reliable way to get around while traveling sustainably.

For one thing, trains are one of the most sustainable forms of travel.

View of marshes out train window
Marshes on the East Coast seen from a train window.Joey Hadden/Insider

I like to be conscious of the environmental impacts of my travels. When it comes to transportation, sustainability experts told me that traveling by train is more sustainable than flying.

In the US, Amtrak has reported that taking trains over flights reduces a traveler's carbon emissions by 73%. In Europe, Eurail has reported that traveling by train contributes between 66% and 75% less carbon than driving or flying.

Trains are also the most reliable rides, in my experience.

A train stopped at a platform in Milan.
A train stopped at a platform in Milan.Joey Hadden/Insider

While my train journeys haven't had a perfect track record, I've experienced the fewest and shortest delays while traveling by train. Most of my rides have departed and arrived on time. And on rare occasions, I've experienced delays up to two hours long.

This is nothing compared to the countless delayed flights I've experienced in recent years. Delays between an hour to 24 hours later than the original departure time have almost made me miss family events. And the uncertainty of whether I'll get to my destination on time makes me anxious every time I fly.

Trains have also proven to be more reliable than road trips for me over the last couple of years thanks to traffic jams that have resulted in longer drive times.

I find trains to be more comfortable than other modes of transportation.

Left: The author lies down in a train bunk with windows behind her. Right: The author sits in a brown, business-class seat on a train.
The author in a bunk (L) and a business-class seat (R) on two different trains.Joey Hadden/Insider

I think train seats are more comfortable than plane or car seats. They're typically larger, in my experience. I also find that upgrading to business and first classes is more affordable on trains than on planes. So I've been able to ride in first and business class in large, plush seats.

When it comes to overnight rides, I think a bunk on a sleeper train is much easier to sleep on than a passenger seat in a car or economy seat on a red-eye flight because I can lie down completely.

Overall, I've found that taking trains makes my trip feel more like the journey is part of the destination.

A view out the window of a train in Italy.
A view out the window of a train in Italy.Joey Hadden/Insider

In addition to being a comfortable, sustainable, and reliable mode of transportation, traveling by train has given me unparalleled views of the world, with landscapes changing every second.

Being stuck on a train for long periods of time also forces me to sit back and do nothing, which is something I don't often prioritize in my daily life.

So I know I'll keep traveling by train whenever possible.

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